Skip to comments.GOD AND THE ANGELS
Posted on 12/16/2005 6:50:09 AM PST by anonymoussierra
Introduction "It is important to recognize...that God doesn't just sit in heaven and push buttons on a control panel. He uses "messengers," better known to us by the Greek word: angels. The Biblical view of the universe is not the modern one of vast reaches of barren space interrupted every couple of million miles or so by flying dead boulders. The Biblical view of the universe is that it is teeming and throbbing with life everywhere. The cosmos is heavily populated with "legions" and "myriads" of angelic beings, of various ranks (Colossians 1:16) and "species" (see, for instance, the descriptions in Ezekiel 1:5-25 and Revelation 4:6-8). Angels are associated with astronomical phenomena throughout the Bible (Judges 5:20; Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:13; Matthew 24:29; Jude 13; Revelation 1:20; 8:10-12; 9:1;12:4) as well as with the activity of the weather: wind, storms, and lightning are spoken of in connection with the actions of God and the angels in both blessing and curse (Genesis 8:1; 41:27; Exodus 10:13,19; 14:21; 15:10; 19:16; Numbers 11:31; Psalm 18:10; 104:3,4; 107:25; 135:7; 147:18;148:8; Ezekiel 1:4ff; Matthew 24:31; John 3:8; Acts 2:2; Revelation 7:1-3; 8:5,7; 16:8, 17, 18). Clearly, the Biblical worldview does not attribute changes in weather to impersonal "forces" or "processes,"
He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers [angels], flames of fire his servants. (Psalm 104:3, 4, NIV)
"God controls the government of the universe," said Calvin. "No wind ever arises or increases except by God's express command." Further, "since angels are the powers of God, it follows that they never cease from their office of working. For God never can rest: he sustains the world by his energy, he governs everything however minute, so that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his decree (Matthew 10:29)...God works continually by angels...so that all creatures are animated by angelic motion: not that there is a conversion of the angel into an ox or a man, but because God exerts and diffuses his energy in a secret manner, so that no creature is content with his own peculiar vigor, but is animated by angels themselves." Martin Luther, as usual more pithy and direct, took seriously the psalmist's statement that the wind has wings. After a particularly severe and violent storm, he offered his opinions on the subject: "The devil provokes such storms, but good winds are produced by good angels. Winds are nothing but spirits, either good or evil. The devil sits there and snorts, and so do the angels when the winds are salubrious."
"The Biblical worldview is uncompromising: God is running the world. Every atom in the universe is under His command. His Word created and sustains in Him. That is why He can assert His power and authority in such absolute terms:
I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity, I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
Who can speak and have it happen if the LORD has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? (Lamentations 3:37, 38, NIV)"
(from Power in the Blood, by David Chilton, p66-67, Wolgemuth and Hyatt, Brentwood, TN, 1987)
The Creation of the Angels The angels were created sometime during creation week, after Genesis 1:1. They were not in existence prior to that. It is most likely the angels were created early-on, as they were apparently observers of the work of creation.
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 148)
The association of the angels with the stars suggests that the angels were created one by one, and each named, as the stars are all named, "He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names." (Psalm 147:4)
God questioned Job about his knowledge of the creation,"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements --surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [bene elohim, the angels] shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7)
The angels belong to ranks and oirders, but they are not related to one another, that is they are not a connected race as we are. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that salvation is not offered to the angels but is reserved for the human family, for the descendants of Adam.
...we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee." And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:9-18)
The Inhabitants Of The Spiritual Realm Most of modern science pays little heed to anything that exists in the spiritual realm. In the first place, the scientific method limits scientific investigation to the physical world. The prevailing secular scientific world view today is that of naturalism, or scientism. Naturalism holds that only the physical world is relevant. God if He exists at all, He plays no role in the day by day running of the universe. At most, God could be a "First Cause," but if so, we do not need God to explain anything to us after the Big Bang begins. Or, many say that the material world is all there is, so-called spiritual truth either does not exist or has no relevance to the world of science. These views are radically different in comparison to a Biblical world-view. The physical world is only half of the creation, and the invisible half of creation is the more permanent and substantial than the physical world. In many ways the material world is a world of shadows. Not only did God design the universe, He constructed it in minute detail over a period of time and then set it all in motion. Furthermore, without His moment by moment sustaining power the very atoms themselves would fly apart and the universe would go up in smoke. This is clear from statements such as Hebrews 1:1-4.
Ultimately, all energy and power and life come into the physical world from the unseen spiritual world as the source, even though we do not know how to formulate scientific laws to describe the interactions between these two realms. Since science is bounded by many intrinsic limitations, the responsibility for our failure to be fully-informed and educated concerning the dual realms of creation should probably be laid at the door of the church. God's people are given the task of explaining to the world those areas of knowledge that depend upon divine revelation, subjects that are, by nature, out-of-bounds for science.
"The amazing fact which the Scripture clearly declares, but which thousands of Christians have failed to see, is that God has designed that his church should be a kind of government on earth undergirding visible governments. This would make possible a climate of benevolent law and order, the rule of justice and peace, and would hold in restraint the wild forces of tyranny, anarchy and murder. (See Matt. 5:13,14; Phil. 2:14,15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2.) Whenever the church has approached the biblical pattern, righteous conditions have begun to prevail. And when it has turned from this divine pattern to rely on secondary forces it has become proud, rich and tyrannical, or worldly, weak and despised by all." (Ray C. Stedman, Body Life).
According to the Bible, there are two levels of creation: one physical and one (the more important) spiritual. The two realms---the material and the spiritual---were "tightly coupled" before the fall and though there is still coupling between these realms it is less than it was in former times. Both spiritual and material domains of reality have become flawed, subsequent to creation, and active evil is present in both realms. Scientific observations of the physical world have been, are now, and will be, affected by happenings in the spiritual world. Although we may not see the causes, the effects will be there. The fall of man is accompanied by a "curse" on nature described in Genesis 3:
And to Adam he [God} said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, `You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
The effect of the curse is to reduce the fecundity, resilience and vitality of nature allowing "opportunistic" thorns and thistles and weeds to compete more successfully with crops and fruits useful to men and animals.
Additional "curses" which are consequences of human evil are described as the Biblical account unfolds. For example God spoke to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." (Genesis 4:11-12)
Adam's sin cost him his position as Manager and Steward over the earth. God had granted this to Adam at the time of his creation,
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
Man's lost dominion is described in the opening chapters of Hebrews. There Jesus Christ is presented as the Federal head of a new race of men who will place man back again in the position of dominion over creation:
"For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, 'What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him [man] for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his [man's] feet.' Now in putting everything in subjection to him, [man] he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him [man]. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, [Jesus] for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Hebrews 2:5-10).
Verse five contains a hidden and important clue about how governs the universe. The age which is to come is not ruled by the angels, the author says. The implication is that the age we live in, is ruled by the angels (acting on God's behalf). On this important passage Ray C. Stedman says the following,
"Some fascinating themes are introduced by this observation. It raises immediately the question, What is meant by the world to come? It can mean (1) life after death, (2) the future kingdom of Christ on earth (the millennium) or (3) the new heavens and the new earth. Since almost nothing is said in Hebrews about life after death (9:27), (1) can be dismissed without further development for it is obviously not what he refers to in the phrase about which we are speaking. That limiting phrase probably looks back to 1:11-12 which emphasizes the changes which the material creation will experience. Paul, in Ephesians 2:7, speaks of "coming ages," indicating that at least two more ages lie ahead. The two which Scripture continually names are the restored Davidic kingdom (the millennium) and the new heavens and the new earth. In several places Scripture describes the new heavens and earth as lasting forever, intimating It would be the last age yet to come. But the word world (Gk okoumene) in 2:5 refers not to the cosmos, but to the inhabited earth, and this would strongly suggest the writer has in mind (2), the kingdom of Christ on earth. Hughes calls the world to come, "the age of the Messiah in which the messianic promises and prophecies of old find their fulfillment." It is surely to this that Jesus refers in Matthew 19:28, 'Truly, I say to you, in the new world [palingenesia, 'restoration'], when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel' (RSV). Several passages in Hebrews (6:5 and 12:22-24) suggest that this kingdom is in some sense already available to those who live by faith. Perhaps, we should see this new age to come as spiritually arrived, yet physically still to come.
"A reference to the new heavens and new earth seems unlikely in view of the mention of judgment in Matthew 19:28, for sin will have no place in the new creation. Also Israel will not play a distinctive role among the nations, for then 'the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever' (Rev 11:15 KJV).
"If as this writer claims, the world to come has not been subjected to angels, it raises the possibility that the present age is subject to angelic governance, F.F. Bruce supports this view citing the LXX rendering of Deuteronomy 32:8:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance When he separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples According to the number of the angels of God.
"He further quotes Daniel 10:20, which names angelic beings as 'the prince of Persia' and 'the prince of Greece,' and Daniel 10:21 and 12:1 speak of Michael as 'the great prince' who champions the people of Israel. This concept would explain why the fallen angel called Satan is referred to as 'the god of this world' and is permitted his control until the Lord returns and the new age begins and the curse is lifted from nature. Then, too, the devil will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years (Rev 20:2-3).
"This background seems to give special meaning to the quotation from Psalm 8 which the writer of Hebrews now invokes. His vague reference to his source (Gk "Someone somewhere has testified") is not due to uncertainty but to a desire to stress Scripture as speaking, not a mere human author (Bruce, Kistemaker and Hughes). David's psalm is a wondering reaction to the majesty of the night sky as it reveals the power and wisdom of God and forces the question, What part do puny human beings play in such a universe? The answer is that we were made a little lower than the angels, but then crowned with glory and honor, and everything has been put under our feet. This is a direct reference to Genesis 1:26:
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
Four Mighty Angels Around The Throne The Four Living Creatures, the Cherubim, correspond one-to-one with the four Gospels with which the New Testament opens. Lion, ox, man, and eagle all symbolize various attributes of God in four-fold symmetry. Since the number "four" is symbolic of the world in scripture, we have in the four cherubim around the throne, a picture of God's government and concern for all aspects of the physical world, and the world-system which we call "human society." The lion corresponds to the Gospel of Matthew---here Jesus is seen as the Lion out of the tribe of Judah, the rightful king, depicting God's kingly sovereignty over Israel and the nations. The ox pictures for us servitude and sacrifice (Mark); The Cherubim's face, like that of a man, corresponds to Luke's Gospel and pictures divine intelligence; and the eagle symbolizes the lofty sovereignty and deity of the Son of God (John's Gospel). The four Gospels are also God's complete message to the descendants of Shem, Ham, Japheth, and to mankind in general, in the same order. The "wheels" of Ezekiel (God's "chariot throne") appear to symbolize divine mobility, (the ability of God to observe, to move and to act, anywhere and at anytime, unrestricted by the limitations of the material world). The entire vision seems to picture for us God's government of human affairs and of nature.
Similarly, the cherubim, the highest class of the angels, are also described for us in detail by John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos about 95 AD:
"At once I (John) was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
"And round the throne on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes (depicting the omniscience of God) in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!' And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, 'Worthy are thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.'" (Revelation 4:2-11)"
Thank you "Zacs Mom"
God uses lots of different messengers to communicate with us. It might be our neighbors, it might even be our public figures. It might be a voice that comes over the television that only I can hear. Sometimes he comes to us through our pets.
But there's no doubt that God speaks to us every single day, if we are just willing to listen.
"God uses lots of different messengers to communicate with us. It might be our neighbors, it might even be our public figures. It might be a voice that comes over the television that only I can hear. Sometimes he comes to us through our pets.
But there's no doubt that God speaks to us every single day, if we are just willing to listen."